NORMAN – The re-birth of the “Air Raid” offense at Oklahoma didn’t exactly start with a bang, but it did start with a win – after a late-arriving boom.
A sputtering offense managed just 68 yards of offense and three points in the first quarter but picked up steam in the second half – closing out Akron, 41-3, on Saturday night in the season opener for both teams.
No. 19 Oklahoma (1-0), which has now won six-straight season openers, finished with 539 total yards. Quarterback Baker Mayfield made his first start for Oklahoma, showed strong decision-making and finished 23-for-33 for 388 yards and three touchdowns in just three quarters.
Mayfield completed passes to eight different receivers, threw scoring passes to three different teammates and set a new school record for passing yards in a season opener.
The run game lagged slightly behind, posting just 100 yards. Last year’s Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year Samaje Perine was held to 33 yards on 11 carries.
As the offense struggled to get going early, the Sooners’ defense was stout. Akron (0-1) picked up just four first downs in the first half after starting the game with four-straight 3-and-outs. The only points of the game came off a special teams fumble and after a red-zone stand.
Oklahoma’s offense was led by a handful of players who saw their first action in a Sooners’ uniform. Of the 539 total yards, 317 were accounted for by running backs or receivers making their first game appearance – led by redshirt freshman Joe Mixon, who had 143 total yards on just eight touches and set a school freshman record with a 76-yard touchdown catch, the longest reception by a first-year player.
Six offensive players made the first start of their Oklahoma careers. Dru Samia, who is the first true freshman to start a season opener at tackle since 1946, and Orlando Brown became the first freshman tandem to start a game in school history.